Ex-spin-doctor Damian McBride with his boss Gordon Brown at the Labour Conference in 2008

Did Ed Miliband know what Gordon Brown’s spin doctor Damian McBride was up to?

Serialisation of memoir, which reveals smears against rivals, raises awkward questions for Labour leader

BBC independence at risk from NAO regulation, warns James Purnell

The BBC’s journalistic independence could be threatened if the National Audit Office (NAO) is allowed to investigate the corporation at will, James Purnell, the former minister who became a high-profile BBC recruit, has warned.

Russell Brand will appear alongside Boris Johnson on Question Time.

Russell Brand and Boris Johnson to go head-to-head on Question Time

Comedian Russell Brand is to be a panellist on political debate show Question Time, sharing the stage with Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband hits back at criticism of his Labour leadership from Blair and allies

Ed Miliband tonight hit back at criticism of Labour's direction under him from Tony Blair and his allies, accusing them of being out of date and out of touch with the public.

Margaret Thatcher in a McDonalds branch in East Finchley

Mrs Thatcher implanted the gene of greed in Britain

That was the truly poisonous part of her legacy in this country

The Saturday Quiz answers

1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Scott Lidgett: inspired a generation of British publicists

Helen Scott Lidgett: PR supremo for major cultural institutions

In 1991, a sculpture by Patricia Finch called Golders Hill Girl was unveiled in a north London park. Dressed in bronze flip-flops and hot pants, the work is arresting for its unusual mix of glamour and informality. The same might have been said of Helen Scott Lidgett, née Finch, who sat for the piece for her mother and has died of ovarian cancer at 63.

Stadium: The failure to secure a permanent tenant for the £486m Olympic Stadium has been a major hiccup in Locog’s legacy aims. Earlier efforts ended in High Court recriminations involving West Ham, Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient. Athletics was to be at its core – a promise originally made by Lord Coe during the bid – and the running track will remain. Mayor Boris Johnson took the venue into public ownership and it will host the 2015 IAA F World Championships. Meanwhile a new bidding process is under way. A football tenant, almost certainly West Ham, remains the most probable outcome despite a late challenge from Formula 1 and an application to use the pared-back venue for a sports business university

Fans get extra 200,000 tickets for Paralympics

The flame for the Paralympic torch will be kindled at the summit of each home nation's highest peak

Spectators watch the hockey match between Great Britain and Japan

London 2012: More than 2m fans visit London for Games

Over 2 million visitors have arrived in London to support the Games, making it the biggest crowd event in the city's history.

Empty seats at Wimbledon as Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland took on Julia Goerges during the Women's Singles Tennis match today

Troops, students and teachers fill gaps left by stadiums' empty seats

Sponsors faced growing criticism over unused tickets at Olympic venues after a number of events took place with empty seats.

Ed Miliband in no-strike Olympic Games appeal

Ed Miliband called today for industrial action to be avoided during the Olympic Games after London bus drivers were balloted over a potential strike in a row over pay.

Berlusconi bribery trial rejected by judges

Italian judges yesterday threw out bribery charges against the former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, saying that the statute of limitation had run out.

Pictures from home: Bamako, Mali 1948-1963, is a weighty new coffee-table book from Steidl that collects previously unpublished portraits from the archives of Seydou Keïta - whose stylised studio shots documented life in his hometown in the colony of French Sudan, then a bustling transport route to Dakar - with some of his most celebrated work. £86; steidlville.com
David Mills arrived at court today to give evidence in connection with corruption charges being brought in Italy against Silvio Berlusconi

David Mills 'ashamed' of Silvio Berlusconi claim

English lawyer David Mills told a court today he was "deeply ashamed" to have written a letter falsely claiming that former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi had given him $600,000.

Leading article: The Games need India more than Dow

Lord Coe's apparently steady hand on the London Olympics' tiller has faltered. His robust defence before a Commons committee earlier this month of the controversial acceptance of £7m in sponsorship from Dow Chemical now seems like bluster.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee